Everton player ratings as Dwight McNeil and three others shine against Nottingham Forest

Everton secured a crucial 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in their fight for Premier League survival as two low struck drives off the post from Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil either side of the break saw off the other side to be deducted points this season.

The Blues had the edge on their East Midlands rivals throughout and responded well to the 6-0 thrashing at Chelsea on Monday to triumph despite a sickening head injury to Beto in stoppage time that forced the substitute to be stretchered off.

Jordan Pickford 8

Made a crucial stop to save a Chris Wood effort from point blank range – celebrating as the game went on – after earlier denying Neco Williams, but some of his kicking was off as he seemed to be suffering a hangover from Stamford Bridge.

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Ashley Young 6

Moved back to right-back, he survived a couple of Forest penalty shouts for handball but defended doggedly to avoided being exposed one-on-one.

Vitalii Mykolenko 7

Offered a threat from crosses when McNeil cut inside, as shown by his delivery that Ola Aina could only deflect into Gueye’s path for the goal, he pushed forward when he could while also being solid at the back.

James Tarkowski 7

Back captaining the side, he was a tower of strength, making a couple of crucial blocks to deny Wood after Pickford’s save, he got forward to provide the knockdown for Calvert-Lewin’s chance but escaped punishment when Morgan Gibbs-White shot wide after a defensive header fell into his path.

Jarrad Branthwaite 8

A composed figure at the back, he got the home crowd off their seats in the first half with a surging run, carrying the ball upfield and continued to battle well after going down in the second half but was booked late on for complaining.

Idrissa Gueye 8

Everton’s unlikely hero, firing them ahead by keeping his shot low to beat Matz Sels from distance, he was a lively figure in the engine room throughout, showing the kind of presence that was sorely missed at Stamford Bridge.

Andre Gomes 6

Gave Everton a different kind of dimension in midfield but while he can pick a pass, this was something of a mixed bag for him as a couple of his deliveries from first set-pieces were poor.

Abdoulaye Doucoure 7

Played the clever one-two with McNeil for Everton’s second goal, shortly after being booked for a challenge on Williams, he operated in a slightly different role with Gomes alongside him, using his athleticism to offer an option to team-mates and has kept his passing clever and crisp.

Jack Harrison 6

Recalled on the right wing and while there weren’t any true moments of inspiration from him, he battled hard throughout and held on to possession smartly at times to help buy time to bring team-mates into attacks but was booked for pulling back Yates.

Dwight McNeil 8

The paintbrush was out again against Nottingham Forest as he doubled Everton’s lead with another low drive off the post after exchanging passes with Doucoure, he cut inside on several occasions to try and thread a pass through the Forest defence while also offering service from crosses.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin 6

Missed a close range effort early in the second half after a Tarkowski knockdown and couldn’t get power on a header from a floating left wing delivery from McNeil but put himself about to link up well with those behind him.

Beto (on 67 for Calvert-Lewin) 7

Provided some strong running and hold up play in the last quarter of the game as legs tired before a nasty clash of heads with Morgan Gibbs-White in stoppage time forced him off.

James Garner (on 67 for Gomes) 7

Lively off the bench, he played the pass to McNeil to start the move for the second goal.

Youssef Chermiti (on 90 for Beto)

Replaced his stricken compatriot Beto in stoppage time after his head injury and was promptly kicked to the turf by Murillo when taking his first touch, a challenge that earned the Brazilian a booking and then picked up a yellow card himself for having a nibble at Yates.